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Our Church History

The history of New Life, Wahpeton Church of God, is rich in experience and depth, which extended back into the early Pentecostal movement of this past century. The Church was officially organized as a Church of God in 1928, but its history extends back to 1919.

Miss Rose Shebeck (an aunt to the future Mrs. Boatwright) went to SpokanThe original church!e, WA to visit her sister and returned in 1919 bringing with her to the people of Wahpeton the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the “plain” King James Version of the bible. Most in the area were either Lutheran or Catholic, being predominant in the area, were new to the experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit or a King James Bible. Because the presence of a Bible in the home was forbidden by the Catholic priest and they were eager to see what they were missing. As they began to apply the promises that they found in the Bible for themselves, they began to meet regularly for prayer. This went on for several months without the benefit of a pastor to lead them. This group grew to about 20, and the changes that God made in their lives became evident.

About this time, they became aware of a “free” Pentecostal group meeting in Doran, MN about 10 miles south east (now known as Valley Christian Church, Breckenridge, MN), and began to meet with them, going “as often as the doors were open.” There was much persecution.

After about a year of meeting with the church in Doran, the church began to meet in individual homes in Wahpeton until the mid to late 1920’s, the church was meeting either in homes, or at the Federal Indian Boarding school in Wahpeton where one of the members worked. Soon thereafter they rented and later purchased, the old German Lutheran church on North Second Street (215 2nd St N) for their meetings. At about this time, D.E. “Grandpa” Boatwright came from Verndale, MN to pastor the small group.

November of 1928 Rev. Paul H. Walker, was acquainted with Brother Boatwright, of the Church of God, Cleveland, TN, was invited to Wahpeton to conduct a revival and while here brought the small church into the Church of God and was organized on Nov 26, 1928 with 19 members. Rev Walker was the first Church of God pastor and after approximately 3 months Boatwright was installed as pastor. In May of 1931 D.C. Boatwright, Jr became our pastor. Through the 1930’s a common theme was and they were often reminded that “Jesus might come tonight, are you ready?”

By the early 1940’s it was not uncommon to have 120 people in church, literally standing wall to wall. In the mid-1940’s the “Latter Reign” movement that was sweeping across the Dakotas hit the Wahpeton church and many left the Church so there was nothing left to do but to begin rebuilding. By the early 1950’s the church again began to grow show a need for changes which began to take place in the 1960’s. An addition was added onto the church, which gave room for Sunday School rooms and an office on the main floor and rest rooms and a fellowship hall and kitchen in the basement. The 1990’s major remodeling of the facility took place both inside and out along with rebuilding the congregation.

Looking back of the more than 70 years of history of the church one sees a steady stream of outreach to the community. Just a few of the examples are several nursing home ministries, one which was continuous for more than 20 years, the youth ministry to the County Farm (poor house), over twenty-five years of Bible Training at the Indian School in Wahpeton until the Federal government would not allow it, the radio ministry and the law enforcement chaplaincy. While the Church of God in Wahpeton has never been one the larger churches in the community, its impact upon the community over the years has certainly outweighed its size.

What does the future hold? Only God knows this for sure. However, with a strong desire for revival and a hunger for the things of God, the church looks forward to the future, sustained and encouraged by the revival fires which birthed it, and the faithfulness of the saints who have nourished it over the decades.


Our New Location!And today God has worked another miracle for New Life on May 28, 2010 New Life moved into their new church facility located on the south side of Wahpeton 1021 South Center Street.

This spacious new building has already given much needed room for ministry to young and old alike.

New Life has a renewed purpose in reaching Wahpeton and Breckenridge with the Good News that Jesus Saves. We have come a long way since Rose Shebeck came home carrying her Bible in her hand and the message that Jesus saves in her heart. Come join us and add your life to the history of New Life.